MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Public records show that the Minnesota Department of Human Services violated state law more than 200 times over the past year as it awarded $52 million in contracts and grant commitments without proper documentation.

The records obtained by the Star Tribune show that employees sometimes allowed vendors and grantees to perform work without finalized contracts, while in other cases employees bought products such as software without required permission.

The newspaper reported Wednesday that the records, taken together, suggest a pattern of financial mismanagement that goes well beyond some high-profile cases that have already been reported.

Department officials told the newspaper the agency has safeguards that prevent money from going out the door in such situations.

But several legislators say the violations put the agency at risk for misusing taxpayer dollars.

(Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com)

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